Though the holiday season is full of friends, family, and good food, the prospect of a New Year’s resolution looms like an important deadline. Whether it’s taking steps to improve your personal health or checking an item off of your bucket list, our brains tend to resist serious changes when faced with periods of comfort, satisfaction, and routine.
There’s plenty of science behind this too – researchers have substantial evidence that we are at odds with our desire to change our behavior. According to a survey of 3,000 people conducted by UK psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88% of proposed New Year’s resolutions resulted in failure. An experiment conducted by Baba Shiv of Stanford University further illustrates the point. Students were split into two groups and told to remember either a two-digit number, or a seven-digit number. With their assigned number in mind, the students were then told to walk down the hallway where they were presented with a choice of snacks: either chocolate cake or fruit salad. Shiv found that the students trying to remember a seven-digit number were almost twice as likely to choose the chocolate cake over the fruit salad.
So while you’re wrapping up end-of-the year projects at work or finishing final exams at school, there is evidence to support that a mind with a high cognitive load often makes poor choices. Many New Year’s resolutions involve significant willpower and commitment – like starting a diet or an exercise regime. The focus needed to achieve these goals often falls by the wayside during the holidays, and your capacity for self-control becomes feeble – resulting in a high rate of New Year’s resolution failure.
While Green America certainly supports the pursuance of a better lifestyle, we’ve come up with a resolution that doesn’t require a high level of focus or a serious time commitment. And the best part is – it will help you work towards your other resolutions while supporting the environment, communities in need, and a wide range of beneficial programs. By taking charge of your credit card, you can remove support for destructive mega-banks, help fund education and the arts in underserved communities, support green businesses and protect the environment, all while receiving the same benefits and rewards that you love about your conventional credit card.
By resolving to swap your old mega-bank-issued credit card for a responsible, green card, you can make a huge impact in the world. This resolution is easy to keep- you can cancel your old credit card and apply for a new one from the comfort of your own home, and you start seeing the benefits almost immediately. Even if you fail to keep any of your other resolutions, switching to a responsible credit card will create positive impacts every time you shop.
You can use your responsible credit card to achieve your other goals too. Let’s examine some common New Year’s resolutions and think about how using a green credit card could make them even better.
1. Exercise/Eat Healthy – This is the first item on everyone’s list, because it’s just so convenient to grab a pre-made sandwich when you don’t have time to make a nutritious lunch, or eat a cookie instead of an apple. A busy life leaves little time for exercise as well, and once you stop exercising, it’s hard to get yourself to start again. A green credit card can be a reminder to make smart lunch choices, as a percentage of each transaction you make is committed to financing things like community development. You can even increase the green impact of your card by purchasing foods like organic fruits and vegetables – supporting farmers as well as communities in need. It’s especially smart considering the alternative – that same percentage would go straight towards outlandish executive salaries if you swiped using a card issued by a mega-bank. Using your green card is just like dieting; positive inputs lead to positive results.
2. Budgeting- Staying on top of your finances is essential. As more transactions are carried out electronically, it’s increasingly easy to lose track of how much you spend and where you spend it. A green credit card can serve as a reminder that every dollar you spend affects the world in some way. You can rest easy knowing that your transaction charges go on to fund programs that support fair trade, clean energy, and environmental protection programs rather than to fill the pockets of the mega-banks. As you track your donations to these causes, you can simultaneously keep tabs on how much you’ve spent – it’s a win-win!
3. Be More Social – After a long week, the temptation to spend Friday night at home with pajamas and Netflix is almost too much to resist. Green America urges you to go out and spend time with your friends – catch a movie, go to a community theater, or enjoy a happy hour together. And when you’re done, you can wow everybody when you bust out your green credit card to pay. You can be a trend-setter this holiday season and encourage responsible spending throughout your social circles.
4. Travel – We all have a destination to visit somewhere on our bucket list, whether it’s a few hours away or across the globe. 2014 is the year for departure – make your arrangements, mark your calendar, and explore the world ahead of you! It’s almost impossible to book hotels, rental cars, and other travel arrangements without a credit card, and it’s best to do it with a green card. You can find great eco-friendly trips in our Green Pages online. With a responsible credit card, you can cover all of your expenses and remain confident that your transaction charges aren’t bankrolling things like coal-mining or palm-oil industries. You can also use the points from your responsible credit card for airline tickets and accommodations.
5. Help others around you- This is the most common New Year’s resolution, yet it’s undoubtedly the most difficult to achieve. Luckily, a responsible credit card is designed to help others around you! So as you purchase holiday gifts for your loved ones, or even as you rush to Starbucks to fuel your way through that end-of-the-year project, you can be sure that somewhere, someone is benefiting from your responsible credit card being swiped. Better yet, you can purchase a monthly or a one-time donation to a great nonprofit organization and give it as a gift using your green credit card. The holidays are about giving, though there is always inevitably some consumption going on. With a responsible credit card, giving and consuming are no longer mutually exclusive.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas to get started on achieving those nagging New Year’s resolutions. With a credit card from a responsible lending institution, you can get the products and services you need this holiday season while simultaneously supporting programs that uplift communities in need and protect our environment. You’ll remove support from profit-seeking mega-banks, and you’ll stay inspired to follow through on those other, more difficult resolutions.